“Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.”

-C.S. Lewis


Dear Colleagues and Friends,


Taking up new responsibility …

She was born in Cleveland and shares that she is a diehard Browns fan. She studied pharmacy at Purdue University, medicine at West Virginia University and completed an innovative behavioral medicine and  psychiatry/internal medicine residency at her medical school alma mater, including time as chief resident.  She has helped lead and define a physical diagnosis and clinical integration course for medical students and ended up directing the residency program where she studied along with an internal medicine residency program. She came to our Partnership campus in 2010, the same year the students started there, as the inaugural campus associate dean for GME. Dr. Shelley Nuss, who has a uniquely passionate and collaborative spirit, has led the rapid successful, development of GME in Athens and surrounding communities in partnership with our terrific physician and hospital partners up that way. Today we are pleased to announce with our colleagues at the University of Georgia, that Dr. Nuss is our new campus dean for the medical partnership. Congratulations!


With a spirt of collaboration … and passion

More great leadership news from up Athens way on this fabulous Friday! Dr. Jonathan Murrow, a cardiologist and a core clinical educator at the Partnership campus, is the very first campus associate dean for research. Dr. Murrow will help realize the goal of more research at this campus, which is just terrific. He is a busy clinician who also is working hard to better understand the mechanisms of cardiovascular injury and repair. Like Dr. Nuss, he got his start with the Medical Partnership in 2010. We appreciate Drs. Nuss and Leslie Petch Lee for recruiting Dr. Murrow to this new position. And, we absolutely thank Dr. Lee for her exemplary service as interim campus dean since last May, and for so much more.  She has been with us since the early days of planning the Partnership campus and ensured a terrific curriculum since day one.


Enables us to ‘leap’ … To new highs

No doubt this is a happy Friday at Georgia’s medical school! If you are one of those folks who, despite your awesome commitment here, generally thinks Fridays are great days, we wanted to do a little campaigning for Mondays, well at least for this coming Monday. It’s a Leap Day! That’s right, these days only show up every four years when we add an extra day to February apparently because the earth’s orbit around the sun is not exactly 365 days and we have to make up the time somewhere! We guess we didn’t have that familiar rhyme, “Thirty days hath September …” completely memorized like we thought cause it actually covers leap year with the rousing ending: Except in Leap Year, that’s the time, when February’s Days are twenty-nine.” Glad we got that straightened out and happy Leap Day Monday!


Empowers us to ask questions … And find interesting answers

It’s kinda weird and interesting when things are a little off from what me might expect. You might remember we talked a couple of weeks back, for example, about how a low-salt diet doesn’t work as we think it might for our cardiovascular system in the face of a dysfunctional circadian rhythm. Well here’s another surprising salt finding. Our Dr. Laura Carbone and her colleagues looked at data collected on thousands of women in the famous National Institutes of Health Women’s Health Initiative. She found that a low-salt diet does not necessarily translate to stronger bones either in postmenopausal women. Once again, don’t be using this as an excuse to over-salt but it is right interesting. Since calcium – which loves strong bones – follows sodium into the urine, it makes absolute sense that less sodium would translate to stronger bones. But the findings seemed to indicate the opposite or possibly that there is no association between salt intake and bone strength. That has Dr. Carbone, per all of your amazing usual, wanting to do a prospective study that will enable more in-the-moment study of salt intake and how much salt women are excreting. We say go for it and let us know what you find next!


To improve care for patients…

Also back at the research ranch, our Dr. Brian Miller had some more expected results that, again like all your efforts, will also help patients. Cognitive problems can be one of the earliest signs of schizophrenia and certainly among some of the most debilitating problems with this tough disease. So many of you are studying the role of inflammation in many, many diseases from cancer to cardiovascular problems. Dr. Miller is a leader in its role in schizophrenia. He just published finding of a small study that shows that just two intravenous doses of an immune suppressing drug already used in arthritis – given with standard therapy – improves cognitive function in patients with schizophrenia. Interestingly, adding the drug did not further impact more commonly known symptoms such as hallucinations. You may remember that Dr. Miller also recently got a Stanley Medical Research Institute grant to look at a monoclonal antibody in patients that directly targets a key regulator of inflammation. Our thanks to Drs. Carbone and Miller and to so many of you who relentlessly chip away at the mysteries of our bodies and brains.


To help our community … Which always returns the favor

Speaking of looking out for our bodies and brains, our 13-year-old Center of Operational Medicine is absolutely at the forefront of taking care of us in the face of natural and manmade disasters. Just this week, it hosted an important course for our community airport’s emergency and fire services along with some area emergency service providers. Per their absolute usual, our team was happy to lend their expertise and teach a Tactical Emergency Casualty Care course, which takes lessons learned from our military and applies them to the civilian world. In an age where mass shootings have become, unfortunately, increasingly common, these lessons are more vital than ever. The 16-hour course was taught over two days and covered important topics like hemorrhage control, surgical airway control, strategies for treating wounded responders in threatening environments, and techniques for dragging and carrying victims to safety – again, all super important topics we hope to never have to put to use. Around 30 folks were on hand to learn from our colleagues and participate in drills and scenarios. This marked the first time multiple law enforcement agencies and our local EMS participated together in this type of training, making this an even better opportunity since they will clearly be working together when actual events happen. Always more to come from this group. Our special thanks here to Jeff Garver, paramedic and section chief of pre-hospital medicine at our center, and faculty member Dr. John McManus (another MCG graduate!).


To identify greatness in others …

You know, you all are leaders on so many and in so many fields. The Baldridge Performance Excellence Program also is a leader among leaders because it is comprised of, well, leaders from a bunch of different sectors from manufacturing to health care. More than 600 experts from those many sectors also volunteer to serve on the Baldridge Board of Examiners each year, That group does cool stuff  like evaluate the best of the best to help determine recipients of the annual Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award who are recognized for things that matter from strategy to results. This year that esteemed volunteer group included Dr. Thad Wilkins, director of academic development in our Department of Family Medicine, and Dr. Kevin Dellsperger, our hospital’s chief medical officer, who was a team leader in evaluating one of the applicants. Check out the super 2015 Baldridge winners. We absolutely thank Drs. Wilkins and Dellsperger for their service to us and to Baldridge. We are certain this is yet another win-win.


And to educate many generations of physicians for Georgia

You know all roads lead back to our students and alums so we wrap up today by sharing news of a great Alumni Association regional reception in marvelous Macon this week. Our hosts were the fun-loving Dr. Billy Jarrard, an ophthalmologist in Macon, and his incredible wife Cynthia Jarrard who is a graduate of our College of Nursing. How cool is that! It was just a great crowd having a great time at the iconic Idle Hour Country Club. Among our great guests was Mack Hodges, a first-year student from Macon, who gave an insightful update on student life today at MCG. We are super glad he is liking it and so appreciate Mack sharing his invaluable insight and time with us!! Per her awesome usual, Alumni Association president, Dr. Buffi Boyd, shared her thoughts and love for her medical school with this terrific group. Other super cool guests also included former Board of Regents Chair Bob Hatcher of Macon and the esteemed former Congressman, Dr. J. Roy Rowland, a 1952 MCG graduate.  Great time with great people. We absolutely love our alumni!


Upcoming Events


March 4 – The Alan Roberts Memorial Lecture, noon-1 p.m., Lee Auditorium, Kathy Kinlaw, Director of Emory University’s Program on Health Science and Ethics.

March 7 – University Senate Meeting, 5:30-7:30 p.m., JSAC Ballroom, Summerville Campus.

March 18 – Match Day, noon, Harrison Commons.

March 24 – Educational Innovation Institute’s Health Sciences Education Day with the theme “Instructional Technology in Health Sciences Education,” noon-5 p.m., Harrison Commons.

March 25 – MCG Faculty Senate, noon, Lee Auditorium.

April 11 – University Senate Meeting, 5:30-7:30 p.m., EC-1222, Health Sciences Campus.

April 15 – MCG Alumni Association sponsors the Raft Debate, Harrison Education Commons.

April 27 – Inaugural celebration and investiture of President Brooks Keel, details to come!

April 29 – MCG Faculty Senate, noon, Lee Auditorium.

April 29-May 1 – Alumni Weekend. On April 29, Department of Neurosurgery 60thanniversary lunch and CME, noon-4 p.m., BI3079; MCG Dean’s Reception, 5:30 p.m., Harrison Education Commons followed by MCG Alumni Association Banquet, 6:30 p.m., also at the Harrison Education Commons. April 30, MCG Alumni Association Board Meeting, 9:30 a.m., Harrison Education Commons; President’s Cookout, noon-2 p.m., at president’s home, Twin Gables, 920 Milledge Road; MCG Class Reunions, starting at 6:30 at the Augusta Marriott for Classes of 1946, 1951, 1956, 1961, 1966, 1971, 1976, 1981, 1986, 1991, 1996, 2001 and 2006. May 1, MCG Emeritus Club Breakfast, Augusta University Alumni Center on 15th St., 9:30 a.m.; Memorial Service, 10:30 a.m., Alumni Center.

May 6 – Dean’s State of the College Address, noon, Lee Auditorium.

May 12 – Hooding 2016, Keynote speaker, Dr. Claire Pomeroy, President, Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation, 2 p.m., Bell Auditorium.

May 13 – Graduation, 2 p.m., Civic Center.

June 16 – Investiture Ceremony, 5:30-7:30 p.m., Lee Auditorium.

June 17 – Southwest Campus 10th Anniversary Gala, location to follow!

Nov. 5 – White Coat Ceremony, Bell Auditorium, 3 p.m.; reception to follow at the Old Medical College building.

Here’s hoping this weekend delivers the sunshine we hoped to celebrate last weekend!

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